Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and the Metaverse—these emerging technologies aren't just hype. Although they have been mainly used for entertainment, today, we want to discuss how they are used for education. 

These technologies rapidly evolve, blurring the lines between the real world and 3D environments. Students using VR training exhibit a significant boost in confidence, with some studies showing an increase of up to 275% in their willingness to apply newfound knowledge. Furthermore, they express a heightened emotional attachment to the material, reporting a connection 3.75 times stronger than conventional learning methods.

In a closed study of undergraduate students, researchers found that gamified e-learning increased engagement in the lessons as it broke the monotony of regular coursework. Students were also shown to be more motivated to finish their lessons. 

A man learning how to drive through Virtual Reality

As digital learning with gamified elements continues to gain traction, we must ask: What's next? This blog explores how immersive experiences revolutionise higher education by creating a whole new level of learning engagement. 

We'll also explore the benefits, explore specific use cases, and showcase some examples of how immersive experiences make learning exciting, compelling, and more effective.

Beyond textbooks & the power of e-Learning

e-learning, or digital learning, refers to educational materials delivered electronically, and in the current growing digital age, students are more receptive to learning on a digital platform. Statistics show a significant shift towards digital learning in higher education, with more than 70% of students preferring it to traditional learning. 

However, e-learning and gamified e-learning are two different things. In gamified e-learning, digital platforms use emotional motivation to capture interest and attention. This motivation comes from understanding what appeals to and excites students and how to leverage this interest to drive engagement. It can come in points systems, badges, or instant rewards, but modern gamification taps into a broader spectrum of “fun”, including creativity, narrative storytelling, strategy, and collaboration. 

An example of a student learning maths through e-learning gamification

All of these digital experiences can be categorised as immersive learning. Imagine a history student not just reading about ancient Rome but virtually walking its streets, interacting with recreated scenes, and witnessing historical events unfold.

The Benefits of Immersive Learning

Presenting artificial, digitally crafted content and environments mirroring real-life scenarios lets students acquire and master new skills within a safe, simulated space. Learners do not merely observe passively; they become active participants, shaping outcomes directly. This "learning by doing" approach, facilitated by games and simulations, offers several benefits:


Immersive learning environments captivate students' attention by providing dynamic and interactive experiences. By transforming traditional lectures into engaging virtual scenarios, students feel more motivated to participate actively in their learning journey.

Knowledge Retention and Recall:

Immersive learning environments promote better information retention and recall. In a study on learning foreign languages using immersive education, students had 92% better recall and understanding after 2-weeks. By experiencing concepts in a realistic and interactive setting, students are more likely to remember and apply what they've learned. Additionally, immersive learning's multisensory nature enhances memory encoding, leading to more effective recall during exams and real-world scenarios.

Demonstrating Abstract Concepts in Specific Subjects:

Immersive education can significantly benefit subjects traditionally needing help demonstrating their content through practical examples. Complex topics in STEM can be brought to life through virtual simulations and interactive scenarios. Students develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for these subjects by visualising abstract concepts and engaging in hands-on activities.

An example of a student learning structural engineering in VR

Immersive Field Trips:

Immersive learning extends beyond the confines of the classroom, allowing students to embark on virtual field trips to explore different environments and cultures. For example, in Assassins Creed Discovery Tours, students can visit historical landmarks, explore distant countries, and engage with experts in various fields, enriching their learning experiences and broadening their perspectives. 

Risk-Free Learning Spaces:

Immersive learning environments provide students a safe and controlled space to explore and experiment without fearing failure. By offering risk-free simulations and scenarios, students can practice and refine their skills, make mistakes, and learn from their experiences without real-world consequences.

Increasing Learning Outcomes:

Through immersive experiences, students actively participate in their learning process, leading to deeper understanding and improved learning outcomes. A meta-analysis of different immersive learning in classrooms has shown a positive increase in students' learning outcomes, specifically in STEM education. By interacting with virtual simulations and scenarios, students gain practical knowledge and develop critical thinking skills essential for success in their academic pursuits and beyond.

However, some challenges exist:

While the technology behind these experiences is not necessarily new (the first VR machine was patented in 1962), it is still one of the few modern handheld technologies that cost more than the average person can afford. Adopting new technologies in schools can be expensive. 

That said, Apple’s foray into the immersive reality field (recently releasing the Vision Pro) shows that major companies are backing this technology and that the cost will decrease significantly in the coming years. 

While immersive technologies hold immense promise for transforming education, several challenges must be addressed to maximise their effectiveness. Firstly, certain subjects present inherent difficulties in adapting to immersive learning formats. Abstract or theoretical concepts that lack visual or tangible elements pose challenges in effectively utilising immersive technologies for instruction and may do best to stick with traditional learning formats. 

Additionally, immersive education's success heavily relies on educators' expertise. Skilled facilitators are essential for designing and implementing meaningful learning experiences that leverage immersive technologies' strengths while catering to student's diverse needs.

5 Immersive technologies being applied to learning

Virtual Reality (VR)

VR technology uses a headset to immerse students in a completely virtual environment. For example, Quest by Meta could help " transport” students to new places. The total immersion leaves a lasting impression on users and offers a more intuitive learning experience when paired with suitable course material.

Augmented Reality (AR)

AR overlays digital content onto the real world, enhancing students’ perception of their environment. Pokémon GO is a popular AR game that allows players to interact with virtual Pokémon overlaid onto real-world locations using their smartphones. AR could be used to demonstrate how tall tsunami waves are compared to normal ones or locate geographical wonders worldwide simply by pointing at a specific spot on a map.

Students learning in Augmented Reality

Mixed Reality (MR)

MR combines elements of VR and AR, enabling users to interact with digital and physical objects in real-time. The Quest 3 by Meta has an excellent MR interface. It allows students to hold objects from the real world while displaying information about them through a digital overlay (like Iron Man's helmet!). For instance, in a structural engineering course, students wear MR headsets to visualise and interact with three-dimensional models of bridges and buildings. They can examine the inner workings of these structures, identify stress points, and simulate various scenarios such as earthquakes or wind loads.

360-Degree Videos

360-degree videos offer an immersive experience by allowing users to view a scene from all angles, providing a sense of presence. Example: YouTube and Facebook support 360-degree video content, enabling users to explore different environments, such as travel destinations and educational simulations. Students could view historically essential venues such as the Coliseum in Rome in great detail or even take a tour of a foreign museum. 


Immersive audio technology enhances the auditory experience by simulating spatial sound, creating a more immersive environment. For example, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X provide immersive audio experiences in movies, games, and virtual reality applications, enhancing immersion and realism. Students could explore Amazon through a VR headset and identify specific bird and animal cries from particular directions!

7 innovative projects that showcase the power of immersive learning

Virtual Feild Trips by Discovery Education

These immersive educational experiences provide K-12 students with diverse learning journeys. Topics include STEM skills, agricultural skills, and automotive engineering. 

During the trips, experts guide students to observe and interact with their surroundings while they learn about these complex industries. They also have maps, quizzes, and puzzles, all of which take their learning to new levels.

Cadaviz by Healthcare Scientific

India’s first 3D dissection table allows people in advanced healthcare - including students- to explore human anatomy in detail. Users can have full access to the “cadaver” in near life-like detail.

With the Cadaviz tool, users can have a 360-degree view of the body and map all the vessels, muscles and nerves. They can also use their fingers like a scalpel and dissect the virtual body to diagnose accurately. This allows medical students and professionals to gain hands-on experience, regardless of location or donor access. 

AR Chemistry Cards by 360ed

Students can learn more about the periodic table and other chemistry elements using the app. They can see a visual representation of the chemical elements on the cards in real-time and mix and match cards to see compounds and reactions on a molecular level.

Elite PI-135 by Fly Elite

The flight simulator provides pilots-in-training with realistic practice using various aircraft and cockpit instrumentation. It offers a simulated flight environment resembling real-world conditions, equipped with generic switch panels, heavy-duty rudder pedals, and a semi-professional yoke. 

This immersive learning tool enables cost-effective, hands-on training for various aircraft types, eliminating real flight risks. Trainees can hone complex flying skills safely without risking life, health, or property.

Virtual Speech

These VR courses help students and professionals improve their speaking skills. This includes public speaking, leadership training and other essential public speaking training. 

A in-game screenshot of one of the virtual speech courses

Virtual speech involves over 25 situations where people can immerse themselves in the situation they are training for. These safe spaces can be essential for students entering the job market or higher education students who want more self-confidence.

Assassins Creed Discovery Tour by Ubisoft

 In this particular mode of the popular game, players can explore meticulously recreated ancient worlds, such as ancient Egypt or ancient Greece, without the constraints of combat or missions. Instead, they can freely roam and engage with guided tours led by in-game characters, who provide insights into various aspects of history, culture, and architecture.

This educational tool is helpful to students as it offers an immersive and engaging way to learn about historical periods. The Discovery Tour series won Best Learning Game and the G4C People's Choice Award at the 2019 Games for Change Awards.

Mondly by Pearson

This app allows users to immerse themselves in realistic environments and practice speaking and listening to different languages. In VR mode, users can interact with virtual scenarios, like ordering food in a restaurant or asking for directions on a street. 

While in AR mode, they can see virtual objects overlaid in the real world, enhancing their learning experience. The app provides lessons and exercises tailored to individual learning levels, making language learning fun and interactive.

The future of education is immersive!

By embracing immersive experiences, higher education can create a dynamic and engaging learning environment, preparing students for the ever-evolving world they'll enter. 

As technology advances, the possibilities are endless. Imagine medical students practising complex surgeries in VR or engineering students collaborating on virtual construction projects.

An example of a person learning aeronautics through VR

Thinking about making an immersive learning experience for your students? Book a free brainstorming session with us, and we’ll help you immerse yourself in a new future!